[Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of news reports from the year 2016 based on Mitt Romney winning the Presidency and Republicans Taking control of the Senate and retaining control of the House. These stories are not a predictions of what will happen, but they are indications of what could happen. That in itself should be scary enough.]
Unregulated Mountain Mining Pollutes Homes/Towns
Virginians – All Must Leave
The environmental disaster occurred after almost all federal regulations were removed from oversight of mountain top removal mining in the state. Mine operators were then free to dump mining wastes and chemical residues from ore treatment into local rivers and streams, and into unlined ground pits dug for that purpose. The mine companies assured residents and the government that no harm to the environment would come from the practice.
However late in 2015 independent science and ecology teams from Europe determined that both the ground and water were so toxic that within five years the pollution would kill or make seriously ill 87% of the people living in the region. After several months federal officials agreed and ordered the evacuation.
Under laws passed in 2014 by the Republican controlled Congress and signed by President Mitt Romney, the deregulation of coal mining included provisions indemnifying the mining companies against any damages they might cause. “We cannot have energy companies held hostage to the idea that their practices might result in compensation of pollution victims” the President said. “
America’s energy needs and the profit requirements for private investors far outweigh
the health and safety of a small part of the population.”
Mine company officials said that they were willing to give each affected family a one time $5,000.00 payment to cover the loss of their homes, medical care and relocation expenses. “We are not required under the law to do anything” a spokesperson said, “but we want to help.”
One family affected, Jan and Jack Okum of Possum Creek said they would move into a tent on an abandoned Wal-Mart parking lot. The family’s two children will be homeschooled as local officials refused to admit refugee children into the school system, citing cost concerns, and not wanting sick and dying children to be with the other students.